An old hot water system can leave you incredibly frustrated and with nothing but cold water at the most inconvenient of times. Through years of wear and tear, older systems just can’t always keep up with the demands of everyday hot water usage especially with a family and many people using it!
When you’re looking at replacing or upgrading your hot water systems, there are a variety of types to choose from.
Below we will take a look at gas, electric and solar hot water systems and tips on how you can ensure any hot water system you purchase lives up to its lifespan.
There are many considerations when it comes to hot water systems beyond just cost. You’ll want to make sure your system keeps up with your hot water demands and a bigger system is generally a better option for larger families. If your not sure what size system to opt for, take a look at our article on correctly sizing your tank to suit your families needs.
Types of hot water system
Gas hot water systems
Whilst gas hot water systems haven’t always been the first preference in homes in Australia, as the gas grid expands, we’ve seen many homes move over to gas. This is an especially good option for homes that are already making use of gas for heating or cooking.
How Gas Hot Water Systems Work
A gas burner is used to heat water through a coiled pipe. This pipe, called the heat exchanger, then rapidly warms the water.
✔ Very Rapid Heating
✔ Fast Recovery Time
✔ Quite Low Operation Costs
✔ Warm Water even in a power outage
Ideal for big households with a high hot water consumption.
✘ Gas hot water systems are generally more expensive to purchase & to install compared their electric counterparts
✘ If not installed correctly, there is an explosion risk
Electric hot water systems
Electric hot water systems are a very common option as they are incredibly convenient and easy to use. However, they are not always the most energy efficient option.
How electric hot water systems work
Electric hot water systems function a lot like conventional kettles. A heating element will warm the water, which is then stored ready for use.
It’s great for on demand hot water, however, once the tank is empty you will need to wait until you have warm water again.
The heating element will usually last for 6 to 10 years. If you notice that your hot water won’t last as long or the water is only warm and not hot it may be time to have the electric hot water tanks element replaced.
There are also new tankless instant water heaters available, which are more efficient.
✔ Generally, a lower purchase cost
✔ Uncomplicated when it comes to usage
✔ Space conscious as there are many sized options available
✘ Will have an extensive impact on your energy bill
✘ Relatively useless in a power outage
✘ Recovery time is far longer than gas
Which is better electric or gas Hot water heaters?
Electric storage tank heaters are generally the cheapest to purchase and install. However, they tend to be more expensive to run. The running costs can be reduced if it is connected to off-peak electricity.
Gas is more efficient so whilst they generally cost a bit more than electric heaters to purchase and install the cost difference will be made up over time. Gas hot water storage tanks also take less time to heat up compared to their electric counterparts.
Generally speaking if your home has access to natural gas then a gas hot water system is the preferable option due to it’s greater efficiency and lower running costs.
Solar hot water systems
Solar hot systems are the most energy efficient and eco-friendly option when it comes to hot water systems. Solar power is readily available, and we’ve already seen a significant push towards solar power in recent times.
How solar hot water systems work
There are two types of solar systems, flat plate collectors and evacuated tubes. Both make use of natural warmth and sunlight to heat and store water.
✔ Once installed, it’s easy to use
✔ Long-term it’s very cost effective
✔ You may be eligible for government rebates when you make use of renewable energy
✔An ideal option for homes already considering the value of using solar power for energy purposes
✘ The initial setup and installation cost are higher.
✘ You will need to ensure adequate roof space is available for the solar panels.
✘ Areas which receive lots of irregular sunlight may struggle.
Hot water systems installation tips
Most hot water systems have a life-span of anywhere between 8 and 15 years, when installed and maintained correctly.
Here’s some tips on how to ensure an ideal installation:
● Find the right size system for your home’s needs. Smaller systems won’t cope with high-demands. This article helps you calculate what size unit you’ll require.
● Install your system as close as possible to water outlets. This will avoid excessive additional plumbing.
● Insulate your pipes to avoid heat loss in colder months.
● Contact a licensed hot water system installer to ensure all plumbing and electric work is done properly and up to industry and safety standards.
How to best maintain your hot water system
Regardless of which system you decide to go with, you will want to ensure you keep up regular maintenance. This will ensure your system lasts.
Be sure to:
● Check your systems for signs of wearing and damage. You might find the occasional crack, make sure they are merely surface level and won’t cause water loss.
● Inspect your relief valve once a year. You can easily google your specific hot water system to find out how to check your relief valve.
● If outdoors, avoid cluttering the area around your system. Take care during gardening and home maintenance not to bump or hit your system.
● Seek out yearly professional service. Not all issues with hot water systems will be visible to the plain eye. Be sure to have a professional regularly check your hot water system.
Whichever hot water system you may be looking into, we recommend seeking out your friendly local plumber to give you professional advice before your new hot water system is installed or replaced.